Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
The new Washington
Post Weather website
Jump to CWG's
Latest Full Forecast
Outside now? Radar, temps
and more: Weather Wall
Follow us on Twitter (@capitalweather) and become a fan on Facebook
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 01/25/2009

Potentially Messy Winter Storm Tues & Wed

By Jason Samenow

* The Cold Holds: Full Forecast *

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Tues-Wed
Probability of Accumulating Snow: 60%
Most Likely Potential Impact:

In yesterday's Snow Lover's Crystal Ball, I mentioned the possible storm for Tues-Wed might get pushed too far to the south by Canadian high pressure to produce much snow here. On the other hand, I mentioned if the Canadian high was weaker and/or displaced further north, the storm would track closer to us, producing more substantial precipitation. This latter scenario now seems more likely.


As it turns out, the storm may track so close to us that we have to worry about it bringing in enough warm air to change the snow to ice and even rain, especially from the District south and east.

The way it looks to me is that we'll see a period of accumulating snow on Tuesday. Late afternoon Tuesday or Tuesday night, the snow may mix with and change to sleet and freezing rain or even plain rain -- probably preventing this storm from being a heavy snow maker (4"+) in the immediate metro area.

I'd caution this storm is still several days away, and slight changes in the storm's track and strength may still cause significant changes to this forecast.

The Snow Lover's Crystal Ball appears when the potential exists for accumulating snow beyond 24 to 36 hours.

By Jason Samenow  | January 25, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Snow Lover's Crystal Ball  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Cold Weather Holds On
Next: Winter Storm Watch Issued for Metro Area


Most recent GFS run makes things warm for Tues/Wed and keeps things pretty dry for Fri. Meh.

Posted by: JTF- | January 25, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Current temp. in Burke: 32.4 with mostly sunny skies.

I hope it does snow. I'm crossing my fingers!! :)

Posted by: Yellowboy | January 25, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Remember, one run is not a trend. Wait for the 0z data.

Posted by: jpl1019 | January 25, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update CWG - I think you guys are being a bit bearish on 50% for an inch or less. However, as you stated the track and intensity are key as always, but I would say based on the latest model runs that our chances are as followes:

Overall chance of frozen precipt 75% and:

Less than one inch 25%
1-3" 50%
3-5" 15%
5"+ 10%

Any other takers?

Posted by: snowlover | January 25, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Just to confirm the graph- it is the most lightly senario for the Tues/Wed storm that we get a dusting or less? How very disappointing.

Posted by: Etta- | January 25, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Here's my guesstimate:

Less than one-tenth of an inch: 100 percent
More than one-tenth of an inch: 0 percent

Posted by: dcwarren | January 25, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse


I'm completely with you on the statement "one run is not a trend" but there is a trend supporting a stronger low and a more northerly track, which to me signifies mixing issues. Put a gun to my head right now and I'd guess 2-3" then icing...but still a ton of time for changes.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 25, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I wish you had an edit your post button - I really need to start proof reading these before I hit send :)

Posted by: snowlover | January 25, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

ok this does it..

"Snow covered the Jebel Jais area (United Arab Emirates) for only the second time in recorded history yesterday.

So rare was the event that one lifelong resident said the local dialect had no word for it."

Ok so now almost everyone but DC gets snow...even in the desert...GRRRR

Posted by: panthersny | January 25, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

There has been a northerly trend with the gfs all year long so it really not a big surprise! I am surprised that it has gone from an overrunning event to a pretty good storm! Bottom line IMO, The stronger this thing gets the more mixing we will have. If Euro follows gfs, then that 2-4 will be on lower end.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 25, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse


Interpreting the graph literally, the most likely scenario would be in the middle of the graph--between a dusting to 1" and 1-3" -- so around an inch or so. I may have been a little conservative with these probabilities. As I mentioned in my previous comment, if I had to guess right now, I'd say 2 or 3 inches... But it's really early to be making a call.


There is a preview function for your comments -- so you make sure it looks good before you publish

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 25, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

NCEP's Short Range Ensemble Forecast System (SREF)
from this morning has:

50 - 70 % chance of between 2 and 4" over 24 hour period ending at 09Z (4AM) Jan 28 (Wed)

10 - 30% chance of between 4 and 8"

10% for over 8"; but non zero possibility for total 24 hr precip up to 1" melted

High odds for snow to begin between 06Z (1 AM) and 09Z (4AM) Tues.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | January 25, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

With a warming trend expected into early Feb., under 2" with this event will keep some minimum snow records in jeopardy.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | January 25, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse


As a lifelong resident of No. VA I agree with your assertion re the correlation of storm intensity and precip type. This has been the case in plenty of past storms.

Posted by: mchristinaw | January 25, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I am pulling for a no-snow shutout this year. I like weather extremes. that said, i will certainly enjoy the snow if we get any.

Posted by: jfva | January 25, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for posting that info. It's nice to see the SREF ensembles bullish. I erred on the side of being conservative with the latest OP GFS taking the 850 low to our northwest and the model's tendency to trend warmer as we get closer to the event -- not to mention it's almost always prudent to err on the conservative side forecasting snow here... Having said that, I still think this storm gives the entire area its first accumulating snow event -- and possibly significant icing.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 25, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

NAM has kept things relatively cool. Cross the GFS and NAM and things get interesting. I'm not holding my breath though because this year has just been disappointment.

Posted by: hobbes9 | January 25, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Nice post Jason, as always sounds and reasonable, and nice comments to the rest, i will be interesting to see how it pans out!

Posted by: MikefromtheBlueRIdge | January 25, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm still expecting Feb temps 2 b above average, so this next week will probably be our best chance at snow this season. My early guesscast, 4 the immediate DC area, is for 1-3" of snow followed by freezing rain & rain. This has the makings of a typical NOVA winter storm, a little snow followed by ice & or rain.
1" or less 20%, 1-3" 60%, 3-5" 10%, 5+ 10%, of course all guesses subject to change as cond. warrant.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 25, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

How about snow later on this evening?? Radar looks pretty good at this point. Thoughts on whether we might get something out of this?

Posted by: ZmanVA | January 25, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Thx for visual representation of the chances of snow. Makes it easier to not think. Didn't feel like using my brain today anyways.

Posted by: Havoc737 | January 25, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Based on trends so far this winter, I'm thinking a wet snow in the 1-3" range followed by ice and then rain. If it falls during the overnight hours we could have a bit more of the frozen precip..

An ice covered snow is always great for sledding!!!! Remember two years ago?

Posted by: bodyiq | January 25, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

and yet again the models are beginning to shaft the DC area AGAIN! per the GFS and Euro, 1-3inches if that then slop or rain. I would this would be considered a trend north but maybe i'm wrong. Over all, right now its not "snowstorm" for us! These shifts in the models three days prior to the event are just another excample of what its been all winter. I was thinking that maybe this event would kick that trend but it does not look like thats going to happen.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 25, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Guys....I am telling you...RAIN, RAIN, RAIN! Expect slush in the city with a cold rain for the majority. North and West 1-2" followed by freezing rain and sleet. Bullseye will be along the Mason-Dixon Line.

Rainman Greg

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | January 25, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Something is wrong with my ID, but dinergirl says:

I have been exclusively using my snowman plates for the last week, and am now forcing my husband to do the same.

That should get us some snow, right? science, schmience.

Posted by: dinergirl | January 25, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

oh, ok, clearly my ID is showing up correctly...sometimes the internets is a confusing place...

Posted by: dinergirl | January 25, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I think it's Rainman Greg's fault we haven't been getting snow. Let's get 'im!!!!!

Just Kidding, of course ;) But I do hope Rainman Greg is wrong this time around....

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 25, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

and I'm with dinergirl at this point- science, schmience. I'm doing daily snowdances and living on a prayer!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 25, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I am confused. Why has NWS changed the entire storm to all snow in their forecast and raised pops when the models have all been showing mixing and warming. this is wierd.

Posted by: NWDCJesse | January 25, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

And to add to NWDCJesse's comment, they have changed the probability to 80-90%

Posted by: snowlover | January 25, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

How about this vigorous clipper currently moving into WV! It was supposed to have died out hundreds of miles ago. If it can survive its trip over the mountains, we may see an inch or so out of it!

Posted by: bdeco | January 25, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

NWDCJesse and snowlover: while pops are at 80 to 90%, don't let that fool you! Right now its 2-4 inches if were lucky. Ice and rain are now a bigger threat. Storm will probably be stronger and likely track to far north for major snow here.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 25, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Latest NAM is not good news for snow lovers! GFS is coming in.

Posted by: JTF- | January 25, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse


I could have predicted that lol ;] The trend has started and not much to stop it so I think the snow threat is fading! we'll see snow but 1-3 is likely.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 25, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Within the past 2 hours, NOAA has bumped up the likely hood for Tuesday snow from 60% to 80%. I know how it is in D.C., but just sayin.'

Posted by: wecndo | January 25, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

And the the 18Z GFS says.....RAIN!

Posted by: bdeco | January 25, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Enough of the rain. Haven't even the plants yelled 'uncle"? Where's my snow? I want snow. Thank you.

Posted by: jhbyer | January 25, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

When was the last time one of those models was correct about a snowstorm 48 hours out?

Posted by: lioninzion | January 25, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

all you can do is laugh at these models. two days ago they were showing snow from richmond to dc and now the snow is going to be from albany to burlington. a 400 mile shift north. wow. while the 2007 valentines day storm was much bigger than this will be, the model shifts north over the past few days have been very similar.

Posted by: jfva | January 25, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse


models are entering the stage to where they will start to pretty much nail it down. I think the 00z gfs will confirm that northerly track. Ie: less snow.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 25, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

i am looking forward to seeing the NWS watches from Oklahoma to Virginia canceled shortly and replaced by watches farther north. once again, this is just very funny.

Posted by: jfva | January 25, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

How is this funny anymore? I'm reaching for a bottle of scotch to drown these no-snow-blues! lol Seriously though, why are the models so far off these days? Aren't they based on historical data? If so, why is the historical data missing its mark? Ugh! You guys are killing me! LOL

Posted by: schrute | January 25, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

The Oklahoma watches all the way to West Va will stick! They are in for a decent snow then ice and maybe major ice. The weather on the other side of the mountains is completly different from ours. This whole situation makes me laugh that our area, over and over and over again gets left out. Still time to change though!

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 25, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

the watches west of the mountains and down to oklahoma may not shift a great deal northwards, however, they will certainly be extended northwards.

Posted by: jfva | January 25, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

LOL ------ I have told you all along that this will be a primarily RAIN event. There will come a day where we will get a Blizzard but it is just not in the cards for us right now. Even a small storm is not in the cards. Expect a good, cold, wet noodle rainstorm with a tease of snow at the very end as cold air finally filters in.


Posted by: stinkerflat1 | January 25, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

D.C. sucks.

Posted by: wecndo | January 25, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Kids, don't worry about any homework that is due on Wednesday. With the slight chance of more than an inch of snow, the schools will be shutting down for the last half of the week.

That is a school-cast you can count on!

Posted by: dcwarren | January 25, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Folks. Let's look at the trend so far. The models are doing what they generally do... get better the closer to the event. In this case the trend - or focus - of the models has slowly been fine tuning the forecast. Unfortunately the trend is not our friend, although the latest run of the models seems to have halted the northward march of the storm system headed our way. Will this hold? Time will tell. As of RIGHT NOW, the models are painting a picture of some snow with a change over to a mixed bag and maybe even rain, then a change back to perhaps a few flurries before it is all over. As usual, where you live will have an effect on the timing of the change over. The farther north and west, blah, blah,blah...
There is still time for some unexpected variable to come into play, but don't count on it. We are in an area where this type of scenario is not unusual. But take heart. Look at how much the forecast has changed in the last 48 hours!

P.S. This is a relatively fast moving system and thus will not have a lot of time to deposit great amounts of snow on us unless the storm tracks well to our south, like 150 miles further south than currently projected. Even if it was all snow, the speed would keep accumulations down to less than 8 inches - and that is generous.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | January 25, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse


actually if we were in a good storm track and it was a pure snow event we could have seen 12+. Models just a couple days ago were putting out 10 to as much as 13 inches. Right now we have missed out on a major snowfall. I do want to say that I think the local mets may be downplaying the rain threat! and I really do think we may not see warning criteria in parts of our area :(

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 25, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Well said pjdunn1. Lets wait for the 0z suite to see what it has to say.

Posted by: Snowman_In_Herndon | January 25, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Would be a terrible disappointment if this all melted into one of those terrible 35-degree soakers. But, as I posted earlier, it hits when I have a Tuesday night swing dance and two books* to lug into Arlington Central Library by Wednesday. I'd much rather have the big snow when I don't have to mess with public transit at the height of the storm. Model runs DO seem to be advecting in too darned much warm air at this time...something I was hinting at a few days ago.

*I can take one of the books in tomorrow before the event but probably not both of them. Unless Tuesday's temperature jumps over 32, we likely have frozen precipitation that day.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 25, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Storms that come out the Tenn. Valley area generally aren't big snow producers 4 this area. Usually they produce some snow, but generally end up as rain events. This is looking like the usual snow 2 rain storm from this area. Big snows in this area r the 1's that come out of the gulf & head up 95, then off the NC coast. I'm still sticking with 1-3" b4 the change over, I'm basing this on 55 yrs of living in the NOVA area. 90 % of the time, snow totals 4casted 4 this region r 2high. Enjoy the period of snow, but it still looks like a change over b4 it ends. Hopefully this may b a storm that fools us, but the odds aren't good. Remember, models aren't very reliable until they're 36 hrs or less. Mon. looks like a good day 2 go striper fishing at the 301 Bridge. I'll give a fishing report tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 25, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

i luv it wen ppl tlk lke ths. (srcsm)

Posted by: samdman95 | January 25, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I know it is still early to be making forecasts for this potential storm. But if the tracking is right and it hits the area, about what time will precipitation begin on Tuesday?

Posted by: PoorTeacher | January 25, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The RAIN will begin between 2-4 am Tuesday!



Posted by: stinkerflat1 | January 25, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

That early on Tuesday, eh?

Posted by: PoorTeacher | January 25, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I predcit precipitation to fall on Tuesday.


Posted by: amorris525 | January 25, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Now looking like more of a rain event.
1" or less 50%
1-3" 45%
3+ 5%

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 25, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

After hearing the latest 11pm news and forecast, the chance of snow now has decreased to maybe an inch with a switchover to rain because of warmer air moving in. By tomorrow the forecast will most likely change to a mix of snow and rain changing to all rain. Once again snow loses out and the DC area will remain the center of ever continuing snow drought.

Posted by: jtae55 | January 25, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

This is a weird event. The new GGEM and UKMET both have switched back to a 2 storm solution after previously showing 1. Neither model is terribly reliable, but nonetheless, this shows there is still room for some positive change with this system.

I think there are 2 givens with this system:

1. Almost everyone sees some snow at the start.

2. Almost everyone changes over to a mix, then to rain by the end.

Between 1 and 2 though, is still an open question, and could well determine whether this is a significant winter setup, with some light rain at the end, or some light snow at the front followed by a washout.

Posted by: jahutch | January 26, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse


Complex weather system to say the least. Even RAINMAN GREG now says we will see some snow from several waves of low pressure. The key will be the secondary low development off the coast. This seems to develop off the Delmarva and closer in to the coast bringing the warm air in. We will see.

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | January 26, 2009 4:13 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2012 The Washington Post Company